I love Christmas, when it comes to this time of year I am a huge kid and love pretty much all things Christmas related, with the exception of mince pies and Christmas cake, something about all that dried fruit just really doesn't appeal to me. I love the idea of sitting by a roaring fire (or in my case a radiator) with a nice hot toddy and a mince pie but in practice I just can't stomach them! Bleugh.
This year I decided to try and find a suitably Christmassy alternative. I have a million ideas swimming around in my brain but the one which sprang to mind first was some sort of Christmas style bakewell tart. After seeing some cranberries on special in my local Tesco, the recipe was starting to take shape
It was one of those recipes which I sort of made up as I went, I love having a good mad scientist style experiment in the kitchen. It doesn't always pay off but when it does... Oh boy!
I stewed my cranberries in mulled wine and spices for nearly two hours, reducing it to a sticky syrup which tastes EXACTLY like Christmas. *win*
The pastry is crisp, sweet and gently flavoured with ginger and the almond frangipane blanket tops off the whole affair perfectly.
I had a friend over when I was baking, so a few glasses of wine meant that mine were in the oven a smidge too long, but dust with icing sugar and no one is any the wiser! Right?
Without further ado, onto the recipe...
- 225g Plain Flour
- 25g Ground Almonds
- 55g Icing Sugar
- 180g Cold, cubed butter
- 2 medium egg yolks
- 30-40ml Ice cold water
- half a teaspoon Ground ginger
- 100g Melted butter
- 100g Caster sugar
- 100g Ground almonds
- 100g Semolina
- 2 Beaten eggs
- Handful Flaked almonds
- 100-150g Fresh Cranberries (could use frozen)
- Half a bottle Mulled wine
- 75g Caster Sugar
- pinches Various christmassy spices
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl or kitchen aid style mixer.
2. Add the cubed butter and rub until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
3. Add the egg yolks and water and bring it all together into a dough, try not to handle too much. I usually tip the whole lot into a sandwich bag and put it straight in the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Once chilled, roll out and cut into circles and line a greased 12 hole muffin tin (see picture).
1. Melt the butter and allow to cool.
2. Add the eggs and mix well.
3. Fold in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be thick and golden.
Mulled wine & cranberry jam.
1. Pop all the ingredients into a pan and simmer for around 1.5 hours, until thickened and syrupy.
Now all you need to do is pop a spoonful of jam in the bottom of each tart, cover with the frangipane (try to cover the jam completely to avoid it boiling out when baking). Sprinkle flaked almonds on the top and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and delicious!
Don't forget the liberal sprinkling of icing sugar!
I took these little pies to Private Pie's first birthday party on Thursday night, they went down a treat but were a little humbled by the delicious offerings everyone else brought, more on this another time.
Stay tuned for more alternative christmas bakes in the next week